By Derek Westra (original post HERE)
I can do a lot in under 10 minutes. Not to brag, but at age 35 I can still beat Super Mario Bros in 9 minutes. I can “chubby run” (my version of running) an 8 minute 5 second mile (downhill), and I can EASILY drop $300 at Costco in under 6 minutes. But just last week, I successfully created a high-quality missionary journal with ALL the photos and letters from my mission in 7 minutes — start to finish.
You don’t believe me. I don’t blame you. Because like me, you’ve probably tried to make photo books before, using Blurb, or Shutterfly, or some other site, and you know that it takes HOURS. How many hours of organizing, editing, uploading, captioning, and formatting did it take to reach complete frustration? How many swear words came to your head, or (gasp) out of your mouth in the process? Okay, final question: how many photo books have you actually finished? Right?
Now, imagine creating a book for an entire mission. This is TWO YEARS of letters and photos, and getting them all into the right order and looking presentable sounds like a nightmare. It was a nightmare — I tried it! Well some person way smarter than me apparently tried it too, became incredibly frustrated, and then created some fancy technology that made it easy.
Why am I telling you this? Well, if you’re reading this, then you’re probably Mormon — so I’ll use a metaphor that’s about as Mormon as they come. Remember Lehi’s dream when he ate the fruit and it was awesome and he “began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also?” I’m Lehi in this metaphor. I just had this great experience creating my missionary journal email book thing, and I’m “desirous” to tell people about it!
Here’s how it works: the website is MissionaryMemories.com. The missionary (or more likely their parents — haha, really though) create a login, and then tell the system three pieces of information:
- The missionary’s LDSMail email address
- The date range of the missionary’s emails, and
- What email address to pull the letters from
That’s it. The system finds all of the emails from that MyLDSMail email address, and ports ALL of the letters and photos into a book. You can edit the cover, choose the backgrounds, and add other photos, or captions, but honestly, I didn’t do any of that and I was done in under 10 minutes.
I was a terrible, inconsistent journal writer — but I DID write home each week and basically documented my whole mission in my letters and photos. So, this became my mission journal. $99. Done. I would have paid more.
I’m still waiting for my book to arrive, so I’m just pasting in photos from the website (instead of my own — so you can see the product). I’m just a happy customer, but like Lehi with his tasty fruit — this has been a pretty great experience and I wanted to share it with others.
In the words of Maui from the Moana movie, “You’re welcome.”